[EM] The structuring of power and the composition of norms by communicative assent

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Jan 12 15:40:51 PST 2009

--- On Mon, 12/1/09, Michael Allan <mike at zelea.com> wrote:

> Juho Laatu wrote:
> > ... The topmost thoughts in my mind when thinking
> about this
> > approach is that 1) the principles are good and 2)
> making the votes
> > public limits the usability of the method.
> Traditionally secret
> > votes have been a building block of democracies. 
> Public votes work
> > somewhere but not everywhere.
> (1). Re good principles.  I've heard it suggested that
> modern
> democracy is the political form that is best suited to
> capitalism.^[1][2]  If we change it to something with a
> firmer base in
> principles - a more substansive democracy - will it
> continue to be
> friendly to business entrepreneurs?  If not, what will
> happen?  Has
> anyone explored that scenario?  (Any references?)

I can imagine that in some cases also
dictatorship can be the best option for
capitalism (in the sense of "capital
owners"). Democracy is however probably
more stable in the long run and
therefore better basis for a working
market economy.

Good principles may help market economy
by allowing the citizens to see the
state as "we", and thereby increasing
overall trust in the system, and
thereby enabling smoother (hassle
free) operation of the markets.

> (2). Re public/private voting.  Maybe there are two
> possibilities:
>   i) Initial participation by a small group of public
> "pioneers"
>      gradually changes attitudes.  Open voting comes to be
> accepted as
>      a natural form of expression in the public sphere. 
> Participation
>      levels grow.  (There remains a core who will
> not/cannot vote
>      openly.  We can get empirical data on this.)

I'm afraid there will be also a third
category, people that do vote but that
do not dare to vote as they feel.
People may also vote since not voting
could be interpreted as not supporting
the mainstream opinions or as
possibility of having some unwanted

Examples of group pressure are working
places where "all others" are believed
to vote certain way. Also in homes it
might be problematic for some members
to have radically different opinions.

>  ii) A private voting facility (secret ballot) is grafted
> onto the
>      public medium.  Anyone who is content to participate
> merely as a
>      voter (not as a delegate, or legislative drafter,
> etc.) may vote
>      without disclosure.  So we could extend participation
> to those
>      who will not/cannot vote openly.  Results verification
> (and maybe
>      voter authentication) would be complicated by this,
> but the
>      overall function of the medium should be unaffected.

There are some (although smaller)
problems also in this case. If someone
casts a secret ballot that may be
interpreted as having something to
hide. This may lead to pressure to
cast a public vote (and that could be
less sincere than the secret one). One
approach would be to keep all the "low
level" votes secret and publish only
the "representative level" votes (it
is however not easy to separate these
two categories).


> [1] Jürgen Habermas.  1973.  Legitimation Crisis. 
> Translated by
>     Thomas McCarthy, 1975.  Beacon Hill, Boston.
> [2] John Dunn.  1992.  Conclusion.  In Democracy: the
> Unfinished
>     Journey, 508 BC to AD 1993.  Edited by John Dunn. 
> Oxford
>     University Press.
> -- 
> Michael Allan
> Toronto, 647-436-4521
> http://zelea.com/
> ----
> Election-Methods mailing list - see
> http://electorama.com/em for list info


More information about the Election-Methods mailing list